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Spin The Bottle Release Day!

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Who’s ready to party? 🙂 The fourth installment in mine and Lexxie’s Party Games series is here!

Just when you think you know the rules, the game changes.

Party Games, Book 4

Lillian McDermott can’t complain about the years she’s spent at the top of a career she never wanted. But modelling gave her everything. Amazing experiences and enough money to leave it all behind to start her own perfume and fashion label.

The one thing it didn’t give her is Mackenzie Harris. Her brother’s best friend. The man who sees her only as a surrogate little sister. Now, at the launch party for the next phase of her life, she’s done waiting. She’s going to rock Mac’s world until ignoring her is the last thing on his mind.

Mac isn’t blind to Lilli’s charms, and he never has been. But no best mate screws around with a little sister, no matter how tempting. No matter how much he wants to show her exactly how he’d like to respond to her teasing. But this time she’s gone too far, and he’s not backing down. She started it, and he’s going to finish it.

One spin of the bottle turns friends to lovers. But as the boundaries come down, everything changes. Including what they thought they believed about the other.

Warning: Playing this game will result in breathless sexual anticipation, smoldering sexual chemistry and scorching sexual tension. And then the fun really starts…

Excerpt

Copyright © RHIAN CAHILL, 2012

Each player, one after the other, took a card. All of them went above twenty-one and took a shot. A second round started up quickly and Lil stood off to the side to watch. She was enjoying the game when someone pressed into the back of her. Thinking the person wanted to get past, she stepped forward only to be stopped by an arm around her waist, a strong grip that pulled her back against the solid hot wall of muscle behind her.

Warm air fanned over her ear and neck, sending shivers down her spine. His scent filled her nose, and he didn’t need to speak for Lil to know who had hold of her. Mac. He gripped her hip, splayed his fingers and urged her to take a step backwards. Her body was never her own when he was around, and she let him lead her where he willed. He moved them out of the way and stepped them into the corner of the room.

In a second, Mac spun her around. He pushed her into the corner and caged her in, his hands flat on the wall either side of her waist. In her five-inch heels they were eye to eye and she could see the swirl of emotion in his blue gaze. She’d gone too far with tonight’s party, but that wasn’t what had her worried. No, what made her anxious was the look on his face that said he wanted to kiss her. They’d been there and done that with disastrous effects. Lillian didn’t know if she could survive a second time.

“You can run, Lilli, but you can’t hide forever.”

***

Mac waited for the explosion. He didn’t for one second think she’d let him get away with pinning her in a corner. No, Lillian McDermott never let anyone limit her. She took what she wanted when she wanted. It galled him to think she’d turned out exactly like her mother. That woman had a lot to answer for, the least of which was her absentee parenting. He shuddered. The last person he wanted occupying his mind was Gabriella McDermott. He’d much rather concentrate on her sexy daughter.

The one who drove him nuts but pulled him closer with every breath he took. He’d tried to stay away, tried to ignore the gut-burning need to see if the kiss they’d shared was a fluke. His gaze dropped to her mouth. Slightly parted, her cherry-red lips beckoned, a siren’s call he knew he couldn’t refuse—didn’t want to deny. Mac leaned forward, his lips a breath from hers.

“Mac?”

His name on her tongue, the puff of warm air that blew over his chin and the tremor of her lips made him smile. “Lilli.”

“What are you doing?” she whispered.

“I thought that was obvious.” He didn’t pull away but moved his body closer to hers, his chest barely touching the tips of her breasts when she sucked in a breath.

“You can’t.”

“Can’t?”

“N-no.” Her lips brushed his. “It’s bad, remember?”

Mac pulled back a fraction to focus on her eyes. “What?”

“Kissing me.” She licked her lips and sent his blood pressure soaring. “When we did it before, you said it was bad.”

For a second, he hadn’t a clue what she meant, and then it clicked. “Oh, no, it wasn’t the kiss that was bad, Lilli.” He lowered his head, brought his mouth back within touching distance of hers. “I’ll prove it.”

He slanted his mouth across hers. Thrust his tongue between her parted lips to plunder. Mac didn’t ease into the kiss. He dove deep, headfirst. She tasted of champagne and cherries. Of lush decadence that spoke of untold pleasure. The party faded away, lost in the mating of their mouths. Nothing existed but the woman now in his arms, her body plastered to his, her soft curves cradling his hard edges as he devoured her.

Her breath hitched when he sucked on her tongue, and the gaspy little moan that followed the caress of his hand down her spine dragged him further into the most sublime kiss of his life.

You can purchase Spin The Bottle from:

SAMHAIN  ~  AMAZON  ~  BARNES & NOBLE

Rhian Cahill

www.rhiancahill.com

Please welcome…Tracey O’Hara

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Please join me in welcoming a truly wonderful woman to the Divas today. Not only is Tracey O’ Hara a brilliant author, she is also one of the most generous people I have ever met.

Tracey, author of both urban fantasy fiction and erotic romance, took a year off from her own writing in order to work on a project to get new and unpublished authors published. And she was HUGELY successful, as you’ll see further on down in the interview.

I adore this author to bits, and you only need read on to see why.

Jess

1)    Who is Tracey O’ Hara?

I am still trying to work that out myself. I am a wife, mother and full time computer analyst/programmer working for the public service. But I am also an story teller. I love spinning tales. My work will never change the face of society or have some analytical/political literary meaning. All I want to do is entertain my readers with a good yarn for a few hours.

2)    There’s a world of fiction out there. Why romance? Why paranormal/urban fantasy?

Actually I write whatever story speaks to me. Currently I am working on a few different projects including an historical Australian Colonial saga and a post apocalyptic erotic romance. To me the story dictates what direction it goes in. That said – when growing up I loved action/adventure and horror so most of my stories have elements of those things. And Romance – well where would the world be without romance.

3)    Tell us about your first two Dark Brethren Novels (which I absofreakinlutely love BTW).

Night’s Cold Kiss was my first book and was published in 2009 with Harper Voyager (or Eos as it was then called). It followed the story of Antoinette and Christian and really got me started on my world and is the sexiest of all the stories as Antoinette was an extremely passionate character. Basically it is a vampire stories although in my world they are called Aeternus.

The second book Death’s Sweet Embrace came out in early 2011 and this story had 2 new protagonists – Kitt and Raven – who are shapeshifters. This book showed another race of my world. Kitt and Raven are ex-lovers with a very rocky past.

All the Dark Brethren books are part romance, part mystery thriller with horror elements.

4)    Now, you have a new release in the same series. (Rubs hands together.)  Details please! 

The third book which came out last month is called Sin’s Dark Caress. This is my favourite book of the series. Again we see another aspect of the world with two new protagonist. This time it is about witches. Here is the blurb.

An ancient darkness has risen from the ashes . . . and terror has been loosed upon an unsuspecting world.

Forensic witch Bianca Sin has never seen anything like it: homeless teenage girls torn to pieces by dark magic in the cold shadows of the city. More terrifying still is the symbol written in blood on an alley wall—the unmistakable seal of the Dark Brethren.

Teaming up with NYPD homicide detective Lancelot McManus and an elite task force headed by the shapeshifter Oberon DuPrie, Bianca knows her worst fears have finally come to pass. A new war of annihilation is looming that will plunge the worlds of vampire, shapeshifter, and human into chaos—and two adversarial tribes locked in uneasy truce will need to take up arms together to save the children. Trust will be essential for Sin and McManus, as the hunt forces them to confront their deepest terrors.

For the ultimate evil is no longer approaching.

It’s here.

5)    Are there any reviews we should know about? Like, oh, I dunno, 4 &1/2 star reviews from RT maybe?

LOL – yes I was very stoked to get a 4 ½ star review in the same RT review magazine as some of my favourite authors. And if I remember correctly – you also got a 4 ½ star review in the same mag. It was a great review. Mine said

The threat of the Dark Brethren rising hovers over O’Hara’s impressively compelling series with wonderfully chilling menace. This third installment explores witch clans and murder by deadly dark magic. None of O’Hara’s protagonists are without flaws, but all have guts and determination in the face of dangerous odds. O’Hara is on a roll!

And another great review from  Book’d Out

http://bookdout.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/review-sins-dark-caress-by-tracey-ohara.

Sin’s Dark Caress is a fast paced read with plenty of action, exciting twists and strong characters. With its mix of murder, mayhem and magic I think its the strongest book of the three and though it could work as a stand alone, I would recommend reading the previous installments.

6)    Do you write any other books, apart from the Dark Brethren novels?

I totally do. I write erotic romance under the penname of Tracie Sommers. I have 2 shorts out with Harlequin Spice Briefs – Tonight My Love and Blame it on the Moonlight. And I have a new short story coming out in November.

7)    I believe you’ve been responsible for a very exciting project lately. One that helped a whole group of authors get published. Tell us about that.

I have been working hard on a project with a bunch of other Erotic Romance authors. It started off as an Anthology idea suggested by Cate Ellink and then Mel Teshco and I just ran with it turning it into a great exercise for getting published authors to mentor unpublished ones. After nearly a year we had several stories and they were picked up by the Pan Macmillan new Aussie digital imprint Momentum. They have been fantastic. The first of the Hot Down Under short story series come out this November.

And the Divas played a big part in it. Rhian and Lexxie each have a story in the series and Jess has been an enormous support of the project from the get go by reading and mentoring some of the stories.

You can find out more about the Hot Down Under series at http://www.hot-downunder.com/

Fun Questions (Go on, be daring)

1) Name your fantasy manage combination (ie, who would you choose to have a ménage with?) (Yes, this is my all time favorite question)

Gosh – that is a hard one. Maybe Chris Hemsworth if he wore his Huntsman outfit and Antonio Banderas in anything – but also have a bit of a girl crush on Selma Hayek when she does her Santanica Pandamonium dance from Dusk til Dawn. Plus Antonio and Selma have great accents – so might have to go with them.

2) What five items would you take if you had to get out of your house in 5 mins or less.

My husband, my kids, my animals, my mobile and my laptop. They are all the important things.

3) Tell us about the worst day job you ever had.

Working for a fast food chain. I am not real good with customer service.

4) Describe your writing in 3 words.

Hot, violent and bloody. (tee hee(

5) If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you’d buy for yourself?

A new car – I have my eye on a nice Holden or BMW depending on how much I will I guess.

6) Favorite comic book superhero.

Wolverine – he has that animal attraction thing going on.

7) What food will you absolutely not eat?

Pumpkin – had to eat far too much of it growing up. Yuk.

8) As you’re typing the answers to these questions, what are you wearing? (That’s not a naughty question unless you have a dirty mind)

I would like to say nothing at all but since I am doing this in my lunch hour at work that might be a bit awkward. So unfortunately it is a skirt, top and jacket for the office.

9) Do you prefer a hairy or smooth chest?

Just a smattering of hair. Don’t like a lot of hair but enough to give an interesting texture to run my fingers over.

10) Tattoos—love or hate?

LOVE – have four and planning my fifth

——————–

FOr more information about Tracey, please visit her website.

It just got personal (Maybe you can help?)

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I lost my mom last year. No, I wasn’t being my usual careless self. I mean I really lost her. She died – after living with a hideous illness for three years.

See, my mom had Motor Neurone Disease (or MND or Lou Gherig’s Diesease, or ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis if you wanna get technical). Its a godawful illness, slowly draining away every physical ability one has, while leaving the mind fully aware of the body’s degeneration. Wanna  know what made it even worse? Ten years before my mom was diagnosed, she spent spent three years nursing my dad through the same hideous illness. (Yeah, a real sick joke of nature.) So she knew what was in store for her. She knew what she was facing every step inch of the way. And we did too.

So when I saw Lori’s post over at Limecello’s Blog, I knew I had to help her spread the word. See, she too is living with a loved one who suffers from MND: her sister-in-law. And kudos to Lori, she’s doing something about it.

Please join me in welcoming her to the Divas blog, and please, help support her cause. It is a worthy one indeed.

Jess

Walk to Defeat ALS… because you can



Thanks so much to Jess for hosting me here. One of the things I love so much about the romance community is the hugeness of our hearts. This community is filled with kind, compassionate and caring people.

I walked in the ACS Relay for Life for several years to support cancer research and you all have supported me through those many years. Last year, I changed my focus to ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. I’m hoping that you will find it in your hearts to help me out just a little (or a whole freaking lot!). You can donate to my October 14 Walk to Defeat ALS here: http://webgw.alsa.org/goto/loris

A lot of people don’t know much, if anything about ALS. It’s a quiet disease, a quiet killer. Back in March, I posted at Limecello’s blog  about my sister in law. She was diagnosed 2 years ago with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a neuromuscular disorder that basically paralyzes your body and eventually is fatal. You slowly lose your ability to walk, talk, swallow, breathe. Yet you remain completely aware of everything going on around you and can still feel pain. It is among the cruelest of diseases. Every 90 minutes a person in the US is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease. Very few people live longer than 7 years after diagnosis. The most famous person with ALS today is the brilliant Stephen Hawking.

Sue’s diagnosis took 18 months, which is sadly not unusual. Since I last posted here about ALS, Sue has lost her voice, because the vocal cords don’t work anymore. She has a tube in her stomach for medications and feeding She can’t take care of her most basic needs alone. The saving grace for my brother and sister-in-law has been our local chapter of the ALS Association. The ALS Association is there to help families in their local communities with the necessary adjustments – providing affordable equipment such as wheelchairs for patients, contractors to retrofit houses, and social services to give patients and their families the support they need. Our local chapter helped my brother find a handicap-equipped van at an affordable price. They recommended a contractor to them who works with the ALS Association to give a special break in price to ALS patients for retrofitting their home. They support a ton of research as well.

When I posted in March at Limecello’s, I shared the story of New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, who is battling ALS. Since that time, new research has shown that in addition to other brain related injuries, NFL players are 4 times more likely to die from ALS than the rest of the population. Additionally, the Pentagon is funding research because our troops seem to also have a very high incidence.

The average life expectancy of an ALS patient ranges from 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis.  We are now at the 2 -year mark, which means that Sue has had this horrific disease for at least 3 ½ years. I know that there is quickly going to come a day when we no longer have Sue with us. She’s been my sister for the last 30 years. I hate that this is happening to her and my brother and my nieces. There is no cure for ALS. There is not even any sort of treatment yet. While I hate to say it, it’s not likely that Sue will benefit directly from the ongoing research. Where she does benefit immediately is with the support offered to them by the ALS Association and the community of families that reside within it. The ALS community is a tightly-kit one, and it breaks my heart every time my brother tells me that one of their friends has lost their battle.

My greatest hope is that Sue will win her battle, and be here to watch both of her daughters graduate from college, dance at their weddings, and live to see her grandchildren. I pray we find a cure for the millions of people with ALS, but most especially… and selfishly (I admit)… I pray for a cure for Sue, my brother, and my nieces. I am so very proud of Sue and my big brother – they personify grace and dignity and unselfish unconditional love.

Because every donation goes almost exclusively to the local chapters, every gift you make will go directly toward helping my brother and his family. Here is, in part, how donations help:
•    $25 pays for a walking cane that will transform the hope for safety into peace of mind.
•    $60 helps webcast an “Ask the Experts” research summit online for those who are unable to attend in person.
•    $100 enables repairs and maintenance of an augmentative communication device (AAC) from the ALS loan closet.
•    $250 funds one of sixteen monthly support groups that serve people with ALS and their families in my community.
•    $600 supports one day of a multi-disciplinary satellite clinic which serves people with ALS who aren’t able to travel long distances.

Money is so tight for so many of us. I’d really appreciate anything that you could donate to help fight against ALS. Even $5 or $10 helps! With your help, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of families affected by this disease. Last year, your generous donations helped to raise close to $6500 for my team of walkers. My own personal goal is to raise $1500. You have already helped me get partway there.
To donate to my Walk to Defeat ALS: http://webgw.alsa.org/goto/loris

Find out more about ALS and the amazing work being done by the ALS Association here: http://www.alsa.org/

Lori

Welcome Guest Blogger Shelli Stevens!

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Today we’re thrilled to have as our guest the totally awesome New York Times bestselling novelist Shelli Stevens. She writes fantastic romance in multiple genres, because apparently she can do anything. And she’s also very nice and looks like a blonde bombshell. I’m serious on both counts!

Today Shelli is offering a book from her backlist to one lucky commenter–I thoroughly recommend anything from the Seattle Steam series. Check it and all her other books out here.

Without further ado, here’s Shelli to tell you about her latest release, Savage Hunger:

Savage Hunger is the first full length paranormal in my new Savage series. I loved discovering the shapeshifter world, writing hot alpha guys who work as federal agents, and discovering the chemistry between Sienna and Warrick.   

I for one am totally in love with this book cover. Here’s the blurb:             

Being the daughter of a world-renowned scientist, Sienna Peters has struggled to carve out her own career in the field. But her world is sent spinning when she discovers a secret species being held in the lab where she works, and the horrible things being done to them. Compelled to do more than hand off an information-packed jump drive to her father, she sets out to free the creatures.

The minute his team enters the compound, federal agent Warrick Donovan knows their mission will have more trouble than they bargained on. Unfortunately, trouble comes in the form of Sienna Peters, the younger sister of his close friend. Now not only does he need to save her pretty ass, he needs to discover just how involved she is with the imprisonment of the shifters.

Sienna knows she should trust no one—not even the man she might still love. But as the danger escalates and past passion ignites, her heart has other ideas. Even when the shroud of mystery is ripped off more than one stunning truth…

And the excerpt…

Heavy footsteps fell outside the door. Spinning around she faced the door, her heart almost stopping as she saw the handle turn.

           The door eased open and Sienna watched one black-leather shoe step inside. Her gaze traveled upward as the rest of Warrick’s body appeared. His muscles rippled beneath his black shirt as he stepped confidently into the room, looking every bit the federal agent he’d claimed to be. God. He really was insanely hot. Even more so now as a fully grown man.

            Her mouth dried and she ran her tongue over her lips. Warrick’s gaze homed in on the movement as he shut the door firmly behind him.

            “You haven’t changed out of your dress.”

            His low, sensual voice sent her senses spinning and she had to focus on what he’d just said. Her dress. Right.

            “I…there’s a zipper in the back that I can’t quite reach.” She knew it was the wrong thing to say when his gaze narrowed with heat like she’d just thrown down the gauntlet of seduction. But really, it was the first thing that had popped into her head. She couldn’t exactly confess to calling her father.

            “Is that so?” he murmured softly, taking a step toward her. “Turn around.”

            Her pulse tripped at the rough command, but Sienna moved to obey, knowing she’d walked right into this one. She’d have to be very careful not to expose the goods she was hiding in the bodice.

            His footsteps sounded on the wood floor as he closed the distance between them. The heat of his hard body registered before his hip brushed the curve of her bottom. The familiar, sexy smell of him teased her senses and tingles raced through her blood. She silently let out the breath she’d been holding, repeating the mantra he doesn’t affect me, he doesn’t affect me in her head.

            Warrick caught the length of her hair and pushed it forward over her shoulder. His long, rough fingers brushed against her bare skin and she trembled, letting her eyes drift shut, knowing her mantra was crap.

            He found the tab of her zipper and slowly tugged it down; the sound of the teeth separating seemed extraordinarily loud in the room. Cool air greeted her naked back with each inch he exposed.

            “No bra?”

            Her cheeks warmed with color at his husky question. She didn’t really need a bra with the way the bodice was cut, and her breasts weren’t overly big anyway .

            Clutching the dress at her breasts so it didn’t fall down or drop the hidden items, she muttered, “You know, you could try to act like a gentleman and not point these kinds of things out.”

            He paused in his movement of unzipping, each breath he exhaled teasingly hot on her neck. “There was a time when you wouldn’t have wanted me to.”

            Her heart clenched at the reminder of how foolish she’d been six years ago. “Times have changed, Warrick.”

            He was silent for a moment, then muttered a terse, “Good.”

            It was almost like he’d kicked her in the stomach. Sienna jerked away from him, glad her back was to him so he wouldn’t see the hurt in her eyes.

            “I can handle it from here, thanks.”

That excerpt has me interested in Warrick and what Sienna has hiding in her dress. Hmm….

Savage Hunger can be purchased at Samhain, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or look for it at your preferred e book retailer. And now for a bit of fun on the Diva Couch before Shelli has to go:

Shelli, can you describe your writing for us in 3 words: Sexy, Quirky, Emotional

Imagine you had a time machine—oh let’s just call it a Tardis. What time period would you travel to and why?: I think I’d like to check out the medieval period…for like a day or two. Then get the heck back out in my Tardis and get some Starbucks and a shower.

Name your favorite comic book superhero: I’ve never really read comics, but with all the superhero movies out lately I’ve developed quite a crush on Thor. He’s so alpha. So universal. So gifted in the abdominal department (okay I know I’ve just referenced Chris Hemsworth who plays him in the movie, but yeah).

What super power would you like to have and why?: The power to heal the sick. You just feel so helpless watching those you love struggle to even just survive some days.

Describe your favorite outfit: Any dress I own from www.pinupgirlclothing.com I love to look feminine and flirty. And I’ve discovered dresses are more comfortable than jeans to me.

Do you prefer a hairy or smooth chest?: I kind of like chest hair on a guy. I do. It’s manly.

Best writing advice ever received: Keep on writing. Whether you’re stuck in a book, or you’re waiting on a submission, keep on writing.

Shelli, we’re so thrilled you were able to join us today!

Don’t forget Shelli’s contest. Comment on this post and you go in the draw to win an e book from her backlist–winner’s choice! So why don’t you tell us something, anything you want–do you prefer a hairy or smooth chest? What superpower would you choose?

🙂

Writer on Strike

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Advice so good I put it on my desk calendar

As writers we bang on a lot about word count. We tweet, post and otherwise discuss the number of words we get down on any given day, and chastise or congratulate ourselves accordingly. This kind of thing, some say, can be a great motivator, a real kick up the butt when we need one.

I’ve come to realise that for me it’s not a positive thing. I find it demoralizing and I think I’m going to go on strike. DEATH TO POSTS ABOUT WORD COUNT (that’s a picket sign, by the way). When a writer is stuck in manuscript quicksand, it can be utterly soul destroying to see how fast others are moving forward. It can cause much self-flagellation, panic and self-doubt. If writer X can write 5k a day, why can’t I?

The answer to this question is fairly simple: we are all different. In obvious ways of course—we have varying levels of family responsibility, some people have day jobs some don’t—but it goes deeper than that. Just as people are all individuals, each writer has their own unique process. Number of hours spent writing does not necessarily equate to a certain number of words on the page, it varies for the individual writer from day to day. Between one author and another, it varies even more. And speaking as a ‘slow’ writer, I think I’m finally okay with that.

My process seems to involve getting stuck on a scene part way through a work in progress (never at the beginning, I love writing beginnings) when suddenly telling the story becomes about as simple and fun as pushing a wheelbarrow full of cow manure up a very steep hill. I can see the vision in my head of how the scene is supposed to go, I sit down to type and some other crap comes out. This disconnect between what I envisage and what I can actually do is incredibly frustrating. But I’ve come to accept it as part of my process. There’s always a reason to be stuck, and it’s usually because the scene I’m trying to write is pivotal, and once I get it right it will tell me everything I need to know about how to finish the book.

In Sunset Knight it was the wedding scene I kept coming back to–I have twelve versions of it on my hard drive. In

Voice is what differentiates us from the typing monkeys

Moonlight Mirage there’s a scene in the pool that sat unfinished for a good month before I could finally come out the other side of it. And in Erica’s Choice…well, every freakin scene was a struggle, but most especially the one showing the first time Corey and Griff become intimate, because I’d never written MM before and, hell, I’m a chick. So that stumped me. At the moment, I’m floundering around the scene where my hero and heroine first have sex, and it’s a very important moment. It needs to show all the yearning of their years spent apart, all the love they’ve held onto but are trying to deny, and all the conflicts that will keep them apart for the rest of the book. And of course the heroine has a sexual hang up. You didn’t think I’d make it easy on myself, did you?

So yeah, not so simple. It means my word count per day is averaging 600wds and a lot of those are rewrites. But I’m working through it, making the scene better bit by bit until it matches that image in my head. I am following my process, which means I’m being true to my voice. This does not  make me a very fast writer. But it does make me the writer I was supposed to be.

So yes. I am definitely okay with that.

Love,

Sami

Seriously Can’t Stop Listening to this Song.

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What about everyone else? What new (or old) song can’t you stop humming/singing/dancing to at the moment?

Afternoon Rhapsody – Chapter One

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You might have noticed a bit of a trend on the blog this week. A tropical island/romance trend.

Yep, Bandicoot Cove: The Wedding released on Tuesday, and to celebrate, Lexxie Couper, Sami Lee and I are posting the first chapters of our books for your entertainment.

Today, it’s my turn. So here you go, the first chapter of Afternoon Rhapsody:

Chapter One

See Aidan

See McKenzie

See Aidan and McKenzie get married.


Dear Bianca Rogers,

 

Aidan and Mack would love to invite you and your “plus one” to bear witness to their wedding on Bandicoot Cove’s main beach,

Saturday, four p.m.

 

Dress is completely casual as the atmosphere will be relaxed and full of laughter. No top hats, tuxedos or stilettos allowed.

 

Please come and share in Aidan and Mack’s special day as they finally formalize what the rest of the world already knew: they were meant to be together from the start.

 

RSVP Kylie Sullivan

Bandicoot Cove Resort

Bilby Island

Australia

Bianca fingered the invitation with a sigh. “Plus one”. Damn if those words didn’t tear a hole through her heart. When had she ever needed a “plus one”?

Never, that’s when.

She and Rick had been together since school, for heaven’s sake. Since she was sixteen.

You’re too young, they’d been warned countless times. It’ll never last.

God, she hated those words.

At least wait until you’ve finished uni. Get your degrees.

They had gotten their degrees. Several years after their wedding.

She set the invitation on the glass table in the center of the luxurious living room. Maybe they should have waited. Maybe they had been too young. One thing was for sure. It hadn’t lasted. Not long enough, anyway.

Which was why Kylie had addressed the invitation to Bianca Rogers. Per Bee’s request, her married name had been dropped, and after ten years she’d reverted back to using her maiden name. Although the divorce wasn’t final yet. Not until she and Rick had added their initials and signatures to the papers.

She’d sign them just as soon as she got home. It was the top item on her to-do list. Not now, though. Not while she was on this glorious tropical island. Now was not the time to mull over her life or her failed marriage. Now was not the time for regrets. It was a time for celebration and joy.

Bee shoved her feet into a pair of Havaianas and headed for Oasis, the resort’s poolside bar. She had a meeting there in less than ten minutes with Mack—her sister-in-law-to-be, Kylie—Mack’s BFF and Bandicoot Cove’s manager, and the hotel photographer—Kennedy someone or other. If she didn’t move her arse, she’d be late.

So determined was she to get to the bar on time, Bee almost tripped over a man as she hurried from her beautiful beachside bungalow and made her way through the lush gardens.

“Whoa. Easy there.” Strong hands reached out to steady her.

Bee caught herself mid-stumble, grateful for the muscular arms that prevented her from falling. She looked up to say thank you and immediately lost her breath.

Try as she might, she could not remember the last time seeing a man had taken her breath away. But the second her gaze touched his face, there went her oxygen. Gone. Just like that.

“Are you okay?” His voice was soft, a whispered caress, although she was pretty sure that wasn’t how he’d intended it to come across. He looked at her with concern, not blinding, unexpected lust.

It was she who was blinded by unexpected lust.

Dear Lord, he was gorgeous. Sexy, in a knock-your-socks-off kind of a way. Not classically good-looking. His nose was a little too crooked for that. And his lower lip a little too plump. Good for nibbling on, but not so good in front of a camera.

But then Bee never carried a camera with her, so that point was irrelevant. She did, however, carry her mouth around at all times, so a little nibble—just the smallest taste of that lower lip—was a distinct possibility.

She knew just how it would taste too. Sweet. Soooo sweet. With a hint of something unknown, mysterious. All wrapped up with a little dusting of spice. For added flavor.

Her mouth watered.

His eyes were an odd color. Neither blue nor green. More like a mixture of the two, the exact shade of the ocean behind her. Crystal clear and utterly beautiful. She kind of fancied she could read his every thought in them. And just as soon as she’d decided she could, she decided not to try. Rather leave the mystery than try to understand him. Mystery was good.

Perhaps that was one of the problems between Rick and her. There’d been no mystery. They’d been together too long for that.

But if there’d been no mystery, how was it they’d become strangers?

She brought her attention back to the stranger standing before her. It was all Bee could do not to flip back the dark lock that fell over his forehead so endearingly. She wanted to run her fingers through his hair so badly, they actually itched.

His hands tightened around her arms. “Are you okay?” he repeated. “Winded?” Concern was replaced by worry. “Can you breathe?” He released one arm suddenly, holding her steady with the other, and brought his hand behind her back.

Dear Lord. Was he going to hug her?

A hug would be nice. Unexpected, but nice. Especially if she got to cuddle into that lovely chest of his. Big, but not too big. Solid and inviting…

That was what she’d always thought about Rick’s chest. Big, lovely, solid and inviting. Even when he was a teenager.

He tapped her firmly on the back.

Ah, so not a hug. More like a halfhearted attempt at the Heimlich maneuver.

“It’s okay,” she piped up, remembering she not only had a voice, but lungs too, and was perfectly capable of using both. “I’m okay. I can breathe just fine.”

He immediately dropped his hand. It took him a little longer to release her arm though, and when he did, Bee almost complained. She liked the feel of his grasp there.

“I’m sorry.” He offered an apologetic smile. “You had me worried. For a minute I thought you might be choking.”

“Nope. Not choking. Just surprised.” Very surprised. “I didn’t see you.” She wasn’t sure how she’d missed him—since he towered above her. In fact, standing in front of him, she couldn’t see anything else. He blocked her vision entirely.

She eyed him with speculation. Oh, he was sexy indeed. Sexy and gorgeous. He looked just like her ideal man.

On impulse—because wasn’t that just the way she always did things, on impulse?—she stuck out her hand. “I’m Bianca, by the way. Bianca…” She struggled with her last name. “Rogers.”

His jaw dropped.

His surprise kind of mirrored hers. Would it ever feel right using that name again? Introducing herself by it?

And then she couldn’t concentrate on her name at all anymore because with his mouth open like that, the urge to nibble on his full bottom lip was overwhelming. She wondered if he’d mind if she stood on tiptoes, pulled his head close to hers and helped herself to a taste.

He probably would. Better to keep talking. “My friends call me Bee, though.”

He stared at her for a long, silent minute.

Bee cleared her throat. “Uh, usually, at times like this, you’d introduce yourself. You know, tell me your name and all.” Flirting, Bee? Really?

He raised an eyebrow. “My name?”

“Yeah. You know. It’s the title your parents gave you when you were born. Helps other people to identify you.”

He blinked once, as though startled, and then nodded slowly. “Ah, yes. My name. It’s…Brody. Brody Evans.” He stuck out his hand, and she slipped hers in it, loving the way his fingers curled around hers as they shook. So formal. So…tempting.

“So, Mr. Evans, are you here on the island alone?” Shameful of her to ask, but there’d be no point taking this any further if he wasn’t.

Her heart shocked her then, racing overtime as she awaited his answer.

Nervous, Bee?

Er, yeah. Very. What if he is here with someone?

It would be crushing.

———

You can read the rest of the chapter over at my blog. And…you can purchase all three books at Samhain, or at your favorite ebookstore.

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